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Billion-Pixel Camera Sees Five Times Better than 20/20 Vision

A new digital camera out of Duke University is set to change the way we take and use photographs, surpassing the limits of human biology and expanding on nature’s power. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Engineers at Duke University have created a billion-pixel digital camera which, by using a spherical lens similar to the human eye, is set to revolutionize how people take and use photographs. The exposure is so detailed, collecting five times more information than a person with 20/20 vision, that any portion of the photo can later be enlarged to show with great accuracy what is initially too small to be noticed. The $25 million project was funded by the Pentagon, which is interested in the high-resolution technology for aerial or land-based surveillance operations. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Descriptions of the new device read like yesteryear’s photographic advances, when individuals and families stood straight-faced before box cameras because holding a smile for the several minutes required to capture the image was impossible. The Wall Street Journal says of the new camera: “…it weighs 100 pounds and is about the size of two stacked microwave ovens. It also takes about 18 seconds to shoot a frame and record the data on a disk.” Just as old technological advances are now taken for granted, it seems the future will easily best human biology, expanding the limits of technology beyond those of nature for the first time. 

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